m.paani, a marketing and a local retailer startup raises $5.5 million (39 crore) in a Series A funding round, informed the Mumbai based startup on Wednesday. The company has raised the money through Henkel, Kevin Aluwi, co-founder & CEO of Gojek, AC Ventures Merchants Head of Gojek: Ryu Suliawan, Candy Ventures and Suvir Varma, a board member at Bain & Company. Its prior investors Chiratae Ventures (also known formerly as IDG Ventures) and Blume Investors also participated in the funding round.
The firm being a part of Google Launchpad and Google Studio Company is a digitization based retailer platform based out of Mumbai connecting local retailers to customers along with attractive loyalty programmes. The founder and CEO of the firm, Akansha Hazari –Ericson informed that the funds will be utilized in product development, expediting hirings and improve growth and expansion. The company boasts of more than 50,000 retailers along with seven million consumers connected to its platform and is growing at more than 30% per month while scaling with a 25 member team. It has also raised $1.35 million in 2017 from IDG Ventures, Blume Ventures and Saha Fund.
Launched in 2014, the startup’s founder is a Princeton and Cambridge University alumni and has received various accolades including Google Rising Star, Vital Voices Global Leadership Economic Empowerment Award, Hult Prize and many others. She was also an Ashoka Fellow. She believes in the power of the local retailer and finds her organization as a bridge in filling up the technology gap while enabling local retailers to thrive the India 2.0.
The co-founder of Gojek, Kevin Aluwi, finds m.paani’s team as very strong with a deep understanding of local retailers and consumers through great product strategy.
The executive director of AC Ventures finds that the vision of m.paani is to foster local retailers and see it as a game-changer for the current retail industry. He finds a huge potential for the company wherein they can empower local retailers beyond India.